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Author Topic: Herdwick sheep  (Read 4601 times)

Backinwellies

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Herdwick sheep
« on: September 15, 2015, 07:46:13 pm »
Anyone have Herdwick sheep?   What is your experience with them?  Do they suffer on Damp ground?
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2015, 08:56:43 pm »
They are best left in Cumbria where they do well

Backinwellies

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Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2015, 09:37:00 pm »
They are best left in Cumbria where they do well


Because?
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2015, 10:02:30 pm »
This is all hearsay, but make of it what you will.

The Herdy's traditional landscape is the Lake District fells - which are more stony / rocky than boggy / peaty.  It's a sheep that is hefted, ie it is used to having a territory that it and its daughters graze.

Hefted fell sheep tend to want to be high up.  Certainly if you buy draft ewes from a hill farm, they seem to always find the highest land in the terrain you offer them! 

I haven't had bought-in hefted sheep for more than a season, but the ones I bought in for the moorland farm just before I left there didn't really settle.  The ground was different to what they were used to, the forage ditto, and the land was not high enough for them.  (They were Swales, but I think the same would apply to adult Herdies.)

People say that Herdies have great feet - in their natural habitat.  Anecdotally, their feet do not do well on wet boggy ground.  (If you want good feet on wet ground, get Exmoor Horns.)

I do know of people with Herdwicks that seem happy on better ground and smaller enclosures, but I also hear a lot of people say that they're wild, need space and altitude.

Having said which, many Herdies in the Lakes are wintered for their first winter in-bye, so on lower, smaller enclosures. 

If you do go for some, I would try to buy from a flock being kept on a similar system and terrain to your own.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2015, 10:36:16 pm »
Buy my mothers ones. Nearer than Cumbria, or are you looking to Llandovery?

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2015, 10:52:42 pm »
I'm on lowland pasture and I've got a Herdwick ewe.  I had two but sadly lost one for an unknown reason!  My Herdy girl is very hardy, she is never lame unlike lots of my other breeds or crosses.  She used to be very flighty and would look for any place to escape - if there was one sheep who would have found a place out of the field it would be the Herdy.  Her offspring seem to have her traits!  As she's getting older she is mellowing.


I'd say she is the best mother out of all my ewes - she has been exceptionally caring of her lambs and when I recently separated ewes and lambs she was the only ewe who was trawling the hedges looking for her babies!
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

crofterswife

  • Joined Apr 2015
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2015, 11:07:41 pm »
I recently bought a couple of Herdy ewe lambs,  we will put them to the hill ground with our blackies next spring and will be interested to see how they compare.
So far they have settled in well and I think they are great.

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2015, 07:53:13 am »
we had a trio. one ewe was bonkers and the other ewe and tupp were really nice. wool is v harsh.

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2015, 08:02:48 am »
Because???
...they just look best in Cumbria on the fells.  And because of that my favourite sheep to look at but not here in Cambridgeshire for me that would be like that bottle of local liquor that is so nice on holiday and just looks sad when you get it home. My neighbour had 20 last year and they just did not look right on our little green paddocks.
More practically it is what the others above say, no reason at all not to have them if you can make it work.

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2015, 08:09:56 am »
I desperately wanted some Herdwicks but it seems that they aren't as docile as my Ryelands so I left them alone but I still love them and will be looking again at the Sheep festival weekend after next.
Only looking though. We are NOT taking the trailer  ;D
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2015, 09:46:22 am »
They are best left in Cumbria where they do well

With my rare breed conservation hat on I would have to comment that not having "reserves" spread throughout the country makes them very geographically vulnerable to another outbreak of F&M or similar. 

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2015, 02:49:38 pm »
You should get some MF!

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2015, 11:38:01 am »
Herdwicks require good fences. Given that, then they have no more highly developed  supernatural powers of escape than any other semi domesticated breed.  :fc:
I have kept them from time to time and find them easily managed (by use of a dog), unlikely to get foot problems or fly strike, but obviously there's no guarantee.
Wherever they are kept they appear to have a homing (hefting ) instinct.. I once sold a pair of Herdwick x ewe lambs to someone about 20 miles away. They were forever  escaping and always took the road back to where we live. They never made it back as they became quite well known and people along the route would ring up their owner.
At present we have an old Herdwick ewe who was found in our local small town, and I was rung up as the nearest sheep farmer. We've no idea where she came from,  but she's had a single ewe lamb for the last 4 years. The 2 of them keep themselves to themselves until the lamb is fat, then it goes off to market with the rest. :wave: (I haven't told her!)
So, if you're planning to keep some, I'd say that wet land would be the least of your problems - they don't appear to have any worse feet than any other breed.
But I would advise good fencing and a good dog, and given those then they're a fairly easy breed to keep. :innocent:
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

SophieYorkshire

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2015, 09:01:24 am »
Anyone have Herdwick sheep?   What is your experience with them?  Do they suffer on Damp ground?

I have around 30 herdwick ewes. They are fantastic to manage health wise with no signs of bad feet, flystrike etc and are good mothers, lambing relatively easily. However - do not buy herdwicks unless you either have a dog or they are pet lambs!! Mine are extremely tiresome to catch, and I often think it's about time they were sold when I'm running short on patience! The tup is another matter, he's the friendliest creature in the world - but then he was raised as a pet. Ours are on a mixture of good and bad pasture, and there is plenty of stone about, so can't comment on damp ground. I also leave zinc licks down year round.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2015, 01:15:03 pm »
You should get some MF!
Yes, we have thought about it. Also Balwens, Badger Face Torwen, Talybont Welsh, Shetlands, Greyface Dartmoor, Devon & Cornwall Longwool, Teeswater, Border Leicester ......

 

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